A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Jhoanna Monte Aranez is an inspiration. How she manages to be a working mom (IT Analyst) of two little girls and still be super-duper creative, I'll never know. I discovered her "Inspiration Board" on Flickr and thought I'd ask her to be a guest on Hip Slope Mama. And, yes, even though she lives in Australia which is nowhere near Brooklyn, she epitimizes everything I've come to admire about what Hip Slope Mamas are or have the potential to be. She has a passion for fabric so she is constantly experimenting mainly with fabric and mixed-media collages, and a range of original pattern softies (otherwise known as soft toys/plushies). Check out her website at One Red Robin to view the collection of adorable soft toys she creates. Her whimsical, handmade dolls and crafts are also available at Etsy.

HSM asked Jhoanna what inspires her to be creative and this is what she contributed: "My inspiration to create is found and drawn from various things. I create mostly soft toys and dolls and over the last few months I have found that much of their aesthetic, the way they look, the fabrics I choose to incorporate, and their general character is inspired by the work of the many (mostly) women artists I admire. I have samples of their work hanging on my inspiration board. Much of their work that I find inspiring is folksy in spirit, some are sweet, some are poker-faced, but all are charming and unassuming. I like the combination of ... colours, patterns and textures. There is a lot more artwork that inspires me but I need to save up a little bit in order to get it on to my inspiration board! My softie creations are also inspired by the expressions and personality of my two young daughters (Ava, 4 and Aurora, 2). From the feedback I receive on my blog, I have found that this mix of inspiration has produced a general look and feel along the lines of cute/innocent/sweet/curious, which seems to tie all my soft toys and dolls together. I am inspired by traditional Japanese art (e.g. Hiroshige) as well as neo-Japanese design (e.g. Shinzi Katoh). I collect Kokeshi dolls, which sit on my desk provide and provide me with inspiration on form and colour. I love illustration from vintage children's books and I also love flicking through interior design and home decorating magazines. From these sources I find inspiration on mixing fabric patterns and colours together for my own creations. Sometimes I have found inspiration walking around in the city, past people whose sense of style or look is something I would want to incorporate into one of my dolls, past window displays, past posters haphazardly stuck up onto a wall and past graffiti. I always carry a little sketchbook in my bag where I jot down ideas and scribble quick drawings for future softie designs - I have found this to be an indispensable practice as it is a good place to go back to when I fall into a 'creative block'. I have found that I need to keep being aware of my surroundings wherever I am because inspiration can bite you when you really least expect it! "